Charenton Macerations Asphalt Rainbow ~ fragrance review

Charenton Macerations Asphalt Rainbow artwork

Just when I thought this season’s wave of rose-inspired perfumes had tapered off, one more has come my way, and it’s a very unusual example: Asphalt Rainbow, the second release from Brooklyn-based independent perfume brand Charenton Macerations. This fragrance was developed by perfumer Cecile Hua, and its notes include rose, spray paint (aerosols), galbanum, lily of the valley, lychee, ylang ylang, saffron, magnolia, leather, cistus, asphalt, “detritus,” patchouli, wood and amber.

Asphalt Rainbow is described as “an olfactive love letter to the street: a roughed up rose that’s been hyper-colored, torn apart and twisted on its head, then nailed to the wall for your sniffing pleasure.” It’s actually discussed at much greater length on the Charenton Macerations website, in various posts that occasionally read like an M.F.A. thesis; once you sift through the verbiage, you can take away the idea that Asphalt Rainbow is designed as a homage to graffiti and street art of all kinds, an olfactory tribute to an art form that’s vibrant and temporary and rebellious…

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Frapin Nevermore ~ fragrance review

Poe's grave and Frapin Nevermore

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before…

In late 2014, niche line Frapin launched Nevermore, a new fragrance inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven.” I love any reference to Poe, and Frapin’s characterization of Nevermore as a “spicy woody metallic rose” appealed to me, so I looked forward to trying it and writing about it here.

Nevermore was developed for Frapin by perfumer Anne-Sophie Behaghel, and its composition includes notes of black pepper, nutmeg, floralozone and aldehydes; rose oxide, rose de mai, rose damascena and “bonded wine”; saffron, Atlas cedar and amber wood. Its concept is inspired by the legendary “Poe toaster,” a mysterious figure who for several decades visited Poe’s Baltimore resting place annually on the writer’s birthday (January 19) and left a bottle of Cognac and three roses…

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Chanel Misia ~ perfume review

Chanel Misia, brand banner

Misia did not create anything, but, through the people she met throughout her life and her magnetic presence alongside artists of the time, she became a muse, a patron and an arbiter of taste for several decades. — Musée d’Orsay

My intention for this fragrance wasn’t so much to recapture Misia herself, but her role as a turning point in the life of Gabrielle Chanel. Misia introduced Gabrielle to a number of new things. With this fragrance, I wanted to convey the atmosphere of the Ballets Russes [of which Misia was a patron] and the smell of makeup from that time. — Olivier Polge1

Misia is the latest from the Les Exclusifs collection at Chanel, and the first release from perfumer Olivier Polge. You may remember that Polge has been named as the successor to his father, Jacques Polge, who has been the Chanel house perfumer since 1978. The fragrance was named for Misia Sert, a friend of Coco Chanel, but I am not going to belabor the backstory — Misia Sert was fascinating, but really “Ballets Russes” and “the smell of makeup from that time” tells you most of what you need to know about the fragrance…

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A vial of cloudy white broth

SITTING before me is a vial of cloudy white broth. Biologist Patrick Boyle invites me to take a sniff. To my amateur nose, the liquid smells green and sweet, a little like fresh-cut grass, a little like a bunch of flowers.

The concoction is a microbial perfume. Cooked up in the laboratories of Ginkgo BioWorks in Boston, it contains yeast that has been genetically engineered to smell of roses.

— As previously reported, Robertet and Gingko Bioworks are working on a bioengineered rose oil. Read more at Would you wear yeast perfume? Microbes used to brew scent at NewScientist. Hat tip to Bob!

Van Cleef & Arpels Rose Velours ~ fragrance review

A rose is a rose

Apparently I’m hosting my own little Rose Parade for Spring 2015, since there have been so many new rose fragrance releases lately that I feel the need to try each and every one. The scorecard so far: I’m very fond of L’Artisan Parfumeur Rose Privée and Divine Spirituelle (reviewed by Angie), less captivated by Aerin Rose de Grasse and Maison Francis Kurkdjian A la Rose.

Flipping back to last year’s somewhat shorter list of rose releases, however, I just noticed one perfume that I meant to cover and almost forgot until now. It’s Van Cleef & Arpels Rose Velours, from the jewelry brand’s Collection Extraordinaire fragrance line…

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